On the eve of Hibito’s launch, Mutta reflects on things while Hibito carries out a ritual of sorts to find out whether the weather will be fine enough for the launch itself.
I forgot how much I love this show.
Alongside this the exact details of the mission and workings of the rocket that is being used are explained in a presentation by Jennifer which even accounts for the cost and ends with her shutting up a kid with a mohawk who asked too many questions by directing them to Wikipedia. With this said and done, the first step of the mission is carried out with the successful launch of the Mars V, and after this Mutta, Kenji, Serika, and their fellow participants visit Cocoa Beach, Florida. A place where Mutta wonders what his brother must be feeling, confiding in Kenji how he had given up on becoming an astronaut in his late teens.
From this the episode progresses to the night before where Mutta’s mother comes to him worried about her son and only just coming to terms with the idea that Hibito will be going into space, his father also appearing to feel the same but dealing with it in his own way. After this the day of the launch finally arrives but things don’t look so good for it as the weather threatens to postpone it. Other than the characters we already know we’re also introduced to the Mohawk kid from before and his family, revealed to be the nephew of Hibito’s captain, Freddy as their team stand before the cameras one last time before they head to the rocket.
Alongside this the weather still remains an issue but due to his earlier forecast, Hibito remains confident that it will be good enough to go ahead and Mutta is somewhat shocked and surprised about just how much attention his brother is getting. Nitta even showing up to rub the matter in as they come across a stall selling souveneirs such as posters of Hibito and his team. After this Mutta and Kenji decide to check on the weather forecast again, on the way to which Mutta compares his feelings to the weather, that he feels both proud and a little jealous of Hibito, however after this Mutta and Kenji find that Apo has somehow gotten loose.
As such Mutta and Kenji are left to desperately search for Apo in the next episode while Hibito and his team suit up, Lowry showing off a few random lucky Japanese words Mutta had taught him. With Apo missing Kenji makes his way back to inform the others, leaving them afraid as to just what could happen to him, while Mutta asks around to see if anyone had seen him.
However while it would seem that they’re running out of time to find Apo before the launch, Mutta runs into an eccentric old man who takes to calling Mutta, Alexander and had found Apo. As such he decides to go with him and informs Kenji and the others to put them at ease, the old man explaining that he had been calling him Alexander because he thought he was a Greek guy he knew and that he picked up Apo eating his hotdogs. Alongside this Mutta also finds that the old man is a NASA employee, Deniel Young and after some time they arrive at an old training facility where Deniel likes to watch the launches.
Following this only ten minutes remain up until the lauch as all the characters nervously anticipate the launch, Hibito being so excited that his heartrate shoots up while his team spend these last few minutes in their own ways. Just as the countdown begins, Deniel reflects on how both he and his father used to work in the old facility and how he still enjoys watching launches despite considering himself a relic of the past. Mutta reflecting over just how far his brother has come in twenty years as he watches the Mars I lift off.
In some ways uneventful but at the same time a truly cinematic pair of episodes, and for a point in the series as defining as Hibito’s launch nothing really could have been more appropriate. As small as it was I loved the things like Mutta’s reflections and his parent’s worries, and the lead up to the launch itself was simply great.
It really says a lot for the series really. At first something like a rocket launch this doesn’t seem all that exciting in anime, yet through sheer attachment to the characters and constant leading up, we’re left anticipating it and a feeling of fulfillment when it finally arrives. No matter how you look at it, it is something that serves as a major point in not only Hibito’s story but that of the series as a whole. What I guess I’m trying to say is that while it was a little drawn out, the lead up to Hibito’s launch which had been on its way for thirty episodes was well suited across these two and matched the amount of significance that this point has.
Other than that I liked the way that the lead up itself was treated, and that was drawn out, as opposed to skipping over it entirely Mutta’s conflicted state and the worries of his parents are conveyed throughout random points across the day prior to the launch. In doing so giving the impression that their worries about Hibito and anything going wrong never really leave their minds. As part of this I also liked how those of Mutta’s parents were presented, they’re usually a comical pair but underneath that they’re still only just coming to terms with the idea that their son will actually be going into space.
Of course Mutta’s own thoughts and worries on this matter were interesting to see as well, covered across two episodes we see Mutta feeling a sense of both pride and envy as well as an inability as to just how he can support Hibito in such a time. As he noted to Kenji he had given up on the same dream because it didn’t seem practical (whose reaction was pretty interesting) while Hibito was and has always been preparing for it and therefore it just isn’t really his place to do so. As such however it should be interesting to see just what he’ll say to him the next time they meet in person because of that.
Following this the plot with Apo running away right before the lauch was a little cliche, and if anything made me hate the brat on the left who thought it was a good idea to set him loose, but it still wasn’t that bad. It provided a decent amount of suspense, was solved before it outstayed his welcome, and on top of that introduced us to Deniel Young, a somewhat interesting and rather eccentric old man who arrived just in time to provide Mutta with what he must have been wanting all along. A place to watch the launch without stares from those around him. Either way these were a nice pair of episodes no matter how you look at it.